Cumulus Radio Tucson Combines ViA and Gateway
David Kelly “D.K.”, Program Director and afternoon drive host on

Cumulus Combines ViA and Gateway

Cumulus Radio Tucson Combines ViA and Gateway

By Mark Simpson, Chief Engineer at Cumulus Radio Tucson

I am the Chief Engineer here in Tucson and Jose Pollorena is my Assistant Chief Engineer. Between the two of us we handle everything from the microphone to the antenna.

These days the Tieline ViA has replaced our older iMix G3 for more intricate remote broadcasts, such as pre-game and post-game remotes for University of Arizona home games. We also use one of our ViA units for larger broadcasts within our cluster of five stations. We love using the Report-IT app too, but there are times when you need a full-featured unit on the table.

We use the ViA for radio broadcasts  and to feed our YouTube channel for 1290Wildcats, KCUB-AM. We typically have three commentators, one host and two former players, and sometimes a crowd microphone. We attach the ViA to a laptop for the YouTube feed, and this also allows us to play a locally recorded audio clip through the codec if required.

Cumulus Radio Tucson Combines ViA and Gateway
David Kelly “D.K.”, Program Director and afternoon drive host on


At the studio we are transitioning from using a Merlin PLUS with analog I/O, to dialing into a Gateway 8 codec with native Livewire AoIP support. This integrates seamlessly with our Axia equipment and the additional channels allows us to broadcast remotes in stereo. This lets us split the return feed and send a mix-minus IFB feed of everything relevant to the show to the commentators’ headsets. We send the other channel to onsite speakers minus any IFB communications audio. With the advent of much smarter consoles, the mix-minus is very simple to set up.

Cumulus Radio Tucson Combines ViA and Gateway
ViA with Gateway and MerlinPLUS codecs in the rack at Cumulus Radio Tucson

We typically use a CradlePoint router for connections between the ViA and ISP, whether that be a wired connection, LTE modems, or a combination of both. Whenever possible we use both, so we have an automatic backup or load sharing configuration. We have also used Wi-Fi, but usually as a backup. We use the highest quality Opus algorithm since we typically don’t send music from the remote site, which reduces latency and buffering.

Cumulus Radio Tucson Combines ViA and Gateway
ViA codec used for live sports remotes with a cellular modem

On the ViA, we have three setups per station. One for connecting to the Merlin PLUS, one for the Gateway and one for internal testing. That way everything is preconfigured.

The ViA’s reliability, audio quality, audio latency and overall performance are excellent. It is a noticeable change from the iMix G3, with new features and functional improvements, as well as multiple cellular technology options.

We use the input compressor to keep audio levels consistent between commentators and guests. This helps alleviate the need to ask a person to put the microphone closer to their mouth and that allows the conversation to flow without interruption.

We use the Cloud Codec Controller (CCC) to monitor units remotely and it is a great remote diagnostic tool. With cellular you can perform a site check and then tens of thousands of fans arrive on gameday and the connection struggles with enough bandwidth. The CCC lets us monitor and adjust connection settings and that’s another reason we always try to use a LAN connection with cellular as a backup or bonded.

Our engineers, commentators and promotions team think the codecs are very easy to use. I love the touch screen, but discourage the commentators from touching the unit if possible. Their job is to produce the best content possible and it’s ours to set up the equipment properly. Having said that, it’s nice to have equipment that is simple to use and navigate around, in case there is an issue or last-minute change.

The battery is very handy if we are doing a short coaches interview without access to  power. It also ensures we stay connected if the generator runs out of fuel. We also use a double-conversion UPS in between shore power or generator power. Utilizing the UPS and internal battery ensures we rarely ever experience a connection issue.

With the ViA codec we can literally pick up a case and do an on-the-fly remote broadcast. The ViA has been wonderful to operate because there is normally never a problem, and if there is, it is easy to resolve with the CCC.

Even the Tieline Gateway is so simple to set up and connect with the ViA, that you often over think things and forget you can easily connect via the CCC, or the Axia router, to change your configuration. No more moving wires, making weird setups with extra equipment, etc. Just put the unit on the table power up, connect and do the remote!

Want to know more about Tieline products and software?

For more information on Tieline codecs visit or contact Tieline sales:

(“Cumulus Radio Tucson Combines ViA and Gateway” first published in Radio World Magazine,  February 2024)


The ViA’s reliability, audio quality, audio latency and overall performance are excellent.
Mark Simpson
Chief Engineer at Cumulus Radio Tucson

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